I am sad, dearest reader. Confused and sad. This is unlike me. I am usually happy. In fact, I’m usually so happy and perky that I verge on the irritating. I suspect some people close to me have to rein in their slap reflex when I’m in full happy.
But everything seems bad at the moment. There is a dark cloud hovering over English Towers that just won’t shift.
The Death Wish Child is unhappy. This is not like him. He’s perky too (I wonder where he gets it from?) – a ray of sunshine who brightens any room. Our very own Mr Blue Sky. But he misses his mates in England and, try as he might, just hasn’t really settled here. He’s a livewire – he’s sporty and outdoorsy – but they only have one PE lesson a week. Plus, he misses the skatepark. He’s hard wired to hurl himself around in a dangerous fashion (the clue’s in the name). He doesn’t feel quite right unless he’s a bit bruised. He is constantly glued to Facebook, talking to his English mates and making himself even more homesick.
Our recent trip back home made him – well, all of us, a little sadder than before.
‘Maybe he just needs to be active?’, said P, the lovely hubby of Poppy’s Mum. ’Get him down the GAA, that’ll sort him out’. But they shout at you a lot at the GAA, it’s just not his bag – he’s a laid back dude. And at the latest game, one of the lads said to him ‘I don’t pass to English people’. Another sneered ‘you don’t belong here’. Thanks fellas. Another nail in the coffin.
English Dad is mostly in England. There’s no work in Ireland and he rarely gets back to see us. This is hard. I’m not cut out to be a single mum. I need family: hugs and banter, long, drawn-out mealtimes, clinking glasses and laughter. Solitary evenings with a glass of wine in front of CSI just don’t do it for me. As hard as I try.
I love this house. This is our dream house. I love the garden… the interior that we spent happy hours choosing: my gorgeous kitchen, the fabulous fireplace… my dream oven… the chickens rootling in the garden… everything perfect.
But is it just a house? Did I make a mistake bringing my family back here because I missed it? I was worried about them growing up attending a big Comprehensive school – maybe mixing with the wrong sort of people… Should I have given them more credit? We thought it would be fine… was I wrong?
The Mad Professor wants to go home too. The lure of the Sixth Form is strong – he can do ‘all that nerdy shit’ that he loves: Maths with Mechanics… Physics… Over here, you do the same subjects for Leaving Cert as you do at Junior Cert – everything. It’s not for him. He’s got his future mapped out. England’s the place to be.
And me? I miss my family. I love my brothers. I want to be with my parents. The recent trip to the Albert Hall was classic Disreputable Dad. The Mad Professor was limping in a ridiculously flamboyant fashion after twisting his ankle at his cousin’s (miraculously, it was completely healed the next day). Trying to bag a taxi in London when you’ve got a teenager limping like Jake the Peg isn’t easy. I got cross. The DD got cross with me. There was swearing. But there was silliness too. And flag waving. Food and wine and laughter. I miss all of it. (Yes, even the swearing).
My mum comes to visit. But it’s not the same as popping in and saying hi, sharing tea, swapping recipes, going shopping…
‘Sometimes you have to try something, after trying something else (!) to find out it doesn’t suit everyone’, said my friend Foxy sagely. She noticed that I wasn’t as ‘ebullient’ (great word, by the way, Fox) as usual, during our recent trip. And she’s right.
‘Home is where the heart is’ is a confusing phrase. English Towers will always be our home – happy memories abound here: family Christmases, visits from friends, sunny wanders down the boat road…
But when everyone spends every day missing people they love… wanting different things? Is it time to call it a day?